I wasn’t really sure how to begin this post, so I’ll just give you some of the things I thought of saying to introduce you to what this day was like:
“Pratt is the only place I know of where you put a fake hand in the basket of your bike in the rack and somebody steals the hand and not the bike.”
“Walking from the East Village, across the Brooklyn Bridge, and all the way to Fort Greene in heels is difficult, but apparently not impossible.”
And so on.
Yes, someone did steal the bloody (fake) hand out of the basket of my bike. Go figure. Yes, I did make the nearly four and a half mile walk from the East Village all the way to Pratt in a pair of heels. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
This morning and last night, I talked to God about being in control, about how I just wanted to stop feeling like I had to hold on to everything and control it (even though God is in absolute control and I’m really powerless when it comes to foreknowledge of the future and such supernatural things as that). In reality, I don’t have to worry about being in control of my circumstances, because I serve a God who I can trust to have His way, and His way is perfect. I’m just human and forget that.
A phrase that Jacob (Hannah and Beth’s older brother) brought up in a recent conversation keeps playing in my head. He quoted a veteran disciple-maker, who said “the fastest way to grow in my relationship, understanding, and obedience to God is to try and teach someone else.” While I’m not necessarily trying to be “fast” in my growth of my relationship with Christ, I do want to grow. God’s desire for me is to grow closer to Him and to deepen my knowledge of who He is and who Christ is and what He did and what He’s doing for me on a regular basis, so I can be sure that when I pray for Him to grow me, to challenge me, and to push me, He will answer with a resounding ‘yes.’
That phrase stayed with me this morning as I did my devotions and went to breakfast. Apparently, when milk freezes and then thaws, it spoils much faster, which I didn’t know. Anyway, the milk I have in my fridge spoiled, so I went to the cafeteria for breakfast. I was reading and listening to music as I munched on a bagel and fresh pineapple, when a girl from my first period French class came and sat with me.
Juliet (that’s not her real name, but I’m going to call her that) is wonderful. She’s very encouraging and her French is superior to everyone in the class, but she’s not haughty about it. She diligently studies and improves and learns just like everyone else.
Anyway, we sat and talked for a while until the subject of advertising (her major) came up. She described advertising as a way of controlling people’s minds, which I’d never considered before. I then asked her if advertising, then, was the same as lying. She then went the philosophical and asked if it were possible that everything was a lie.
I let it drop and we continued on with our breakfast and homework. But as I read, something in me wanted to keep going, wasn’t satisfied with leaving it there. She knows I’m a Christian…why am I afraid to talk to her about what she believes?
So I jumped.
We began talking about different things and somehow the subject of luck and chance and karma came up. I told her that I don’t believe in luck, i.e., I don’t believe that things are left up to chance. Ecclesiastes 3 talks all about there being a time for everything, as in a specific time for specific things to happen. God’s purpose is woven all throughout history and the lives of His children, from Abraham and Moses, to David, all the way up to the ultimate Christ and far beyond through Paul up to modern day. He has purpose for my life and is sovereign in His knowledge of all things. If God knows everything, if He sees the expanse of time as one big canvas set before Him, then He knows what’s going to happen, which means nothing catches Him by surprise (Ephesians 1:10, 2 Peter 3:8, Proverbs 16:4). Ergo, nothing is left up to chance.
She was shocked.
When I described to her what I meant, about God having control over my circumstances and over my life, the subject matter changed to whose life I was living anyway. I explained to her that my life is not my own, and that while most people have goals and plans and desires for their own life and their own purposes, I’ve been saved and shown that God’s way is best, and that He purposes everything, that my being at Pratt is not my own doing, that God has placed me in this spot for a reason, and everything beyond this point in my life is purposed by Him as well. Nothing can happen without His permission, say, or allowance. He is in control and I am not (Matthew 6:25-34, Jeremiah 29:11, Psalm 139:13-16, Proverbs 16:9)
As we talked, she sat and told me she’d never heard anyone say the things I was saying, never heard someone speak the way I was speaking. And it’s odd, because when I sat back in my seat and thought about everything I just told her, I realized how real it all was. “The fastest way to grow in my relationship, understanding, and obedience to God is to try and teach someone else.”
Yes, I thought. Yes, I do believe that God is in control and that things don’t happen by chance and that He does have a purpose for my life. Yes! And it was like, wow. It would make sense for me to think this news of God’s purpose for my life and ultimate sovereignty over the things that happen within it to be old hat, but I still can’t get over it it seems. It will be a sad, sad day if I ever get over Him.
The rest of the conversation was wonderful as well, about similar topics, and I was as shocked as Juliet was. She’d never heard anything like the news of the gospel, even partial news. I’d never met someone who’d never heard it.
French went by. I was nearly late for my next class, but made it, thankfully.
This is where it gets a bit interesting.
Now, I had an interview today at three in the afternoon for an internship at a publishing house in the Village. I was expecting to get out of class by 1:30pm, which is when it usually ends. Well, class went thirty-five minutes longer than I’d expected, and I found myself worrying and becoming anxious. But as I sat in the lecture hall, I determined to do all I could to prepare and all I could to try and get there on time, and everything else was up to God. If He wanted me there on time, I would get there. If not, then I suppose I wouldn’t. I would just have to explain myself and trust Him to take care of the rest.
2:05, I sprint across campus, into my dorm building, up four flights of stairs, and into my room. Today was one of those days where I was really glad I’m in shape and healthy. I got changed as quickly as I could into business clothes (pencil skirt, heels, scarf, blouse, ya know) and sprinted back out the door, heels in hand so I could run down the stairs.
I arrived at the subway station and was beginning to worry again. I prayed…oh I prayed…and I realized that the world wasn’t going to end if I was late, that everything was going to be fine, that I just needed to be patient. Getting there on time was all for naught if I was a worry wart and an impatient jerk all the way to my destination. God stabilized me, and though I was still a little nervous and anxious, it was easier to remember the point of it all.
Needless to say, I made it to my interview on time. In fact, I walked into the office at exactly (not a minute to spare but not a minute late) three in the afternoon. I was sweating, and my hair was a mess, but I was there and ready to answer their questions.
The office seemed to be a conglomerate of different agencies. There were many rooms without doors in which people were busily typing away at computers, shuffling papers, doing research, and reading queries. A lady in the room to my far left asked, very nicely, if she could help me. I explained why I was there and who I was there to see, though I assumed all of them were part of the same house. They were not.
The assistant I’d been corresponding with came and greeted me and took me into the head-literary-agent’s office and we waited for her to return from lunch. We began talking about different things, like where I’m from and what year I am.
“So, why did you come to Pratt?” He asked.
And I froze.
This was a real thing. The answer was, of course, that God wanted me to go here. He’d opened all the doors and purposed all the things to get me here and keep me here and I’d just been reminded that morning of why I even have hope to live, because Christ gave me purpose on that cross and a chance to live fully and freely in Him. And here I was, having to tell a professional person this.
I told him the truth.
I explained everything I just said to you, saying that my faith is a big part of my life and, while I was originally going to go to a Christian school in Colorado, I had been led to go to Pratt instead. I was nervous, but I knew it was okay.
The head literary agent came and we began the real interview. It lasted for maybe fifteen minutes and then I left, two free books in hand. As I took the elevator down to the street, excess emotional energy began rolling off of me in waves and I felt like running a marathon. I wasn’t upset…no. I was nervous, of course, but not upset. I’d been informed that there were five other people who’d been interviewed, all probably older than I am (juniors and seniors), and I was the last to be interviewed. It wouldn’t make sense for me to get it.
Out on the street, I walked and talked to God.
Me: Lord, You did everything. You got me here on time. You had everything work out perfectly. If You want this to happen, it will. If not, then it won’t. Thank You for giving me the opportunity to do this.
My heart was haywire and my thoughts were sparked out, but I needed to keep walking. So I did. I walked all the way from Canal St. in the East Village, across the Brooklyn Bridge, along Myrtle Ave., and onto the Pratt campus. I’ve made that walk once before, but it’s different when you’re alone. You see more things, I think. Not that I didn’t enjoy it when I went with someone, but I saw more and experienced more of everything this time.
On the bridge, there were (and I never thought I’d say this) tons of tourists taking pictures, blocking the paths and nearly getting hit by bikers. So naturally I did the same thing. A couple asked me to take their picture. They seemed lovely 🙂
When I arrived home, I changed into different clothes, grabbed food, ate, and then took a nap. I was exhausted, but there was no emotional whatever left for me to bottle up or vent or anything. I was good. Mom skyped me just as my alarm was ready to go off. I talked with her and Dad for a while, and that really just tied the whole day together.
God won today. Realistically, and ultimately, He always wins, but today, I don’t know. I can’t help but sit here thinking “God won,” and the thought is as refreshing as a drink of cold, clear water on a hot summer’s day, or coming home and laughing after being away for so long, or having to fight for days on end without stopping and then being told the war is over, you can put down your weapon, and breathe.
“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” —Proverbs 19:21, ESV